On the year of the company's centenary, Alfa Romeo will launch its new rival for the Ford Focus
and VW Golf
. For some time now it has been widely known that the car's name would be 'Milano' - after the Italian city - but just a few days before the first details were due to be released the powers that be changed it to Giulietta.
Although the evocative name was used in the fifties, the new five-door hatchback has more in common with the Alfa 75's predecessor of the seventies than it does with the original sports car. The 2010 Giulietta is built on a new platform and its dimensions are comparable to the benchmark Ford and VW.
Fans of the Alfa Romeo look won't be disappointed, as the Giulietta is undoubtedly the most striking car in its class. While it continues the 8C-inspired design language utilised on the Alfa MiTo
, the new car's larger proportions carry it off to better effect and new LED lights front and rear really stand out. They're complemented by distinctly sharp creases in the bodywork, culminating in muscular rear flanks. The effect is accentuated by the positioning of the rear door handles within the window line.
Alfa promises that the interior will be just as stylish, though the single image we've seen so far doesn't give too much away other than what looks like a retro alloy gear lever.
It has been confirmed that the MiTo's 'DNA' switch will be carried over, allowing drivers to choose between Dynamic, Normal and All-weather settings. This in turn alters the power delivery, the level of steering assistance and the operation of the traction and stability controls systems to suit the road conditions and the driver's mood.
All five of the available engines will be turbocharged. At launch the petrol options will be a 1.4-litre unit with and without the company's new MultiAir technology
(putting out 118bhp and 168bhp respectively), while diesel buyers can choose from a 1.6-litre JTDm unit producing 103bhp or a 2.0-litre turbodiesel boasting 168bhp.
Topping off the range will be a 231bhp hot hatch powered by the recently launched 1750 TBi powerplant
. It's possible that this will come with a mechanical limited slip differential and bespoke body styling and chassis tuning, while wearing the 'Quadrifoglio Verde' (green cloverleaf) badge that used to mark out high-performance Alfas.
Our first glimpse of the new Alfa Giulietta won't be until March 2010 at the Geneva Motor Show
. It'll go on sale soon after, with right-hand drive models set to arrive by the end of the summer.
Shane O' Donoghue - 2 Dec 2009